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Sassoon: Changed the world with a pair of scissors.

Vidal Sassoon’s legacy is a truly “Rags to Riches” story.

Vidal was born into poverty in London’s East End in 1928 and by the time of his death in Los Angeles, in 2012 he owned a multi million dollar international corporation.

His father left the family when he was 3 years of age, his mother was then evicted so begged a Jewish orphanage to take him, which is where he lived from the age of 5 until he was 11 when war broke out and he was evacuated. When he was 14 he came back to London and got a job as a glove cutter, then another job as a messenger boy, riding his bike around war torn London.

After the war he secured a 2 year apprenticeship in a small hairdressers shop in Whitechapel as a shampoo boy. He tried to gain employment at “Raymond’s” hairdressers(stylist to the stars of the time) but was turned away because of his cockney accent, later to return after 3years of elocution lessons.

In 1954 he opened his own small salon in Bond Street, London, with only 8 clients on the first day. He was doing traditional hairdressing with curls and back combing to give it shape but he wasn’t content, he wanted to be creative and spent the next few years trying out new styles that were sleek, cut at angles and geometrically pleasing to the eye after studying the bone structure of each face. Vidal worked hard, often 14 hours a day perfecting his skills, a lot of his inspiration came from architecture with its defined shapes.

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Two years later he moved to bigger premises in Bond Street and changed the appearance completely of the traditional salon, it looked more like an art gallery than a hair salon, open plan with large windows down to the floor, from outside you could see ladies having there hair styled, something quite unheard of at that time. He had large pictures on the wall of different hair cuts that could be seen from the street.

In 1957 the fashion designer Mary Quant stopped to view the pictures then walked in to make an appointment to have her hair cut. That was the beginning of a long friendship and working collaboration between two designers, one of fashion and one of hairdressing.

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Vidal received a call from a film company asking him to cut the film star Nancy Kwan’s hair. Her hair was 4ft long when she entered his salon and cut into one of his famous geometric shapes when she came out but not before she had been photographed. That photo went on the cover of Vogue magazine in England, USA and Italy then in all the newspapers.

Vidal cut the fashion models hair, Grace Coddington into his famous 5 point cut which appeared on Queen magazine in 1960. Later in 1968 he cut Mia Farrow’s hair for her staring role in the film Rosemary’s Baby. Goldie Hawn’s hair was cut into a bob cut in 1969 by Vidal.

He opened the Vidal Sassoon Master Academy, youngsters came from all over Europe to attend, then from Africa, Japan and the Far East to learn how to cut hair from the master.

During 1965 he open a salon in Maddison Avenue, New York and spent the next 10years traveling between London and New York. 1973 saw the launch  of his products range, being the first stylist to bring hair products to the High Street, they soon went global. He later moved to Los Angeles where he settled, although he regularly came back to Great Britain.

The Queen awarded him a CBE in 2009 shortly before he was diagnosed with Leukaemia, which was to claim his life in 2012.

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I hope you have found this interesting.
Love Betty …..X

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Vintage Hair & Makeup, vintagehair, Vintagemakeup

Vintage Hair & Beauty

During Queen Victoria’a reign, 1837-1901, very little changed in the way ladies wore their hair or presented their faces. Natural beauty was favoured, it was considered shameful or at the least very lower class to have a “painted face”, make up was reserved for the stage or prostitutes.

Pale skin was desired as it symbolised class and wealth, upper class ladies wore long gloves and used parasols to shade themselves from the sun, also to show they were wealthy enough to not have to work outside. Dresses were always to the floor so there was no chance of their legs being exposed to the sun. Some ladies wore a dusting of powder on their faces so as not to appear ‘shiny’, often with a tint of blue or lavender to make them appear very pale in the yellow gas light or candle light. These powders could be made up and purchased at the pharmacist, rose petal waters and other ‘scents’ could also be purchased, ladies often used the back door to enter so that they were not seen purchasing them.

Young girls let their hair grow long, it was braided or tied up with ribbons  and sometimes left flowing on special occasions. When a young lady reached maturity, generally 18years of age, she was ‘allowed’ to wear her hair ‘up’ to symbolise that she had reached adulthood, this was a much awaited moment for many young women. During the 1800’s hair was seldom washed ( neither were their bodies) so although they applied powder to their faces, dabbed on rose water and put their hair up to look elegant their general body odour must have been very unpleasant.

At the onset of the short Edwardian era, 1901-1910, ladies started to take more care of themselves. They washed their bodies more frequently and washed their hair. They applied brilliantine to give it shine, henna was used to dye hair a copper colour, sultanate of iron to darken it or ammonia to lighten (bleach) it. Grey hair was thought at the time to be caused by dryness so glycerine, oil or rum was rubbed into the hair in an effort to prevent greyness!

It was still generally considered fashionable to look pale, but the earlier stigma of having colour on your face had passed so ladies started pinching their cheeks to appear healthier and biting on their lips to give them a bit of colour. They no longer wanted to have to creep in the back door of pharmacists in order to purchase their requirements.
Then in 1909 an American businessman, Harry Gordon Selfridge opened a large department store in Oxford Street, London, which was then the richest city in the world. Selfridges had the first ever beauty counter where ladies were encouraged to ‘try before you buy’ – from that day the “Cosmetic Counter” was born!

Newspapers spread this astonishing news and before long small beauty counters appeared in pharmacies and stores in most towns and cities around the country, ladies then wanted to be seen making purchases.

Love Betty ….. X

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Vintage Hair & Makeup

Vintage Hair & Makeup Workshops…. X

Pinaglis Vintage tearooms in Thundersley Essex was the latest venue for Betty’s Rock & Rollers Vintage hair & Makeup workshop. 10 ladies gathered to try out their skills at vintage hair & makeup. We started with makeup, its always fun when it gets onto the eyeliner flicks! Victory rolls and pin curls were next up with the ladies practising on themselves and also helping each other, and last on the menu was a cup of tea and the hugest slice of cake, well we deserved it after all that hard work! Always a lovely bunch of ladies and we have lots of fun wordpress pic 1 wordpress pic 2 Looking forward to the next one… X

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Uncategorized, Vintage Hair & Makeup

Vintage Photoshoot …. X

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of collaborating on a Vintage Photoshoot at Wakehurst Mansion In Sussex organised by Ingrid of Fine to Fabulous Hair & Makeup. A large team of specialist Hair & Makeup artists were brought in to style and dress a group of talented models to be photographed at this stunning backdrop
for a 1920,s and 1940’s/50’s theme. Here are a few shots behind the scenes I can’t wait to see the final shoot pics…. X

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Vintage Hair & Makeup

Achieving your vintage Brow shape…. X

Well what a currant trend brows have become over the last couple of years! They are making such a statement at the moment, but when we look back brows have always made a statement throughout the decades, they truly are just as important as our other facial features and should therefore be looked after, enhanced and premed as part of our daily routine. We can enhance our own natural brow by gently darkening the natural brow shape with a brow pencil or eyeshadow but to create a defined new vintage brow shape we have to appreciate that unless your happy to shave your eyebrows off and pencil them on it’s not going to happen overnight! We firstly we need to find a picture of the vintage brow shape we would like to aim for, then we need to patiently work with our tweezers or ask your beautician to work towards this certain brow shape, plucking threading or waxing approximately every 2-3 weeks to start creating this shape, some of us will need to grow the hair in some areas, some of us will need to have them removed.
Once that brow shape is achieved we can then look at suitable products and colours that define that brow shape even further to give us our perfect vintage brow, again depending on the look you want you may want to use a colour close to your natural brow colour or you may want to go darker for a more dramatic look, bare in mind using a eyeshadow type product will have a softer edge on your shape and a pencil will give you a more defined stronger look. Good luck with those brow shapes!

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Burlesque Dancing, Vintage Hair & Makeup

The Burlesque Jems Cabaret Evening… X

Saturday the 24th of October 2014 saw the annual Burlesque Jems Cabaret Evening. Founder and feathered facilitator of The Burlesque Jems “Jem” and her tutors showcased their lovely burlesque dancers at a beautiful venue in Essex.

Betty’s Rock & Rollers were there on the night offering vintage makeovers for the ladies performing.

The ladies looked amazing, the atmosphere was buzzing within the dancers and the audience. There were feathers and fun, tease, and of course a bit of naughtiness, a great evening was had by all.

The burlesque Jems classes are at various locations over Essex and Hertfordshire. If you want to build confidence, learn a dance routine, have a chance to dress up and meet some other fabulous women, get in touch at
http://www.burlesquejems.co.uk for more details …. X

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Vintage Hair & Makeup

Vintage Hair & Makeup Workshops…. X

I had the pleasure of teaching another vintage hair & hair workshop for The Burlesque Jems in Cambridge in September. There is always a lovely atmosphere in the group, we have lots of laughs and fun while the ladies create their own vintage makeovers with help and guidance from myself. We do a step by step demonstration starting with makeup then moving onto hair and the ladies get to try the looks using the products provided. It’s always nice to hear the positive feedback so let’s hope the workshops inspire the ladies with their hair & makeup when they get glammed up for their burlesque events….. Until the next time lovelys ….. X

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